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Textbook-buying headaches solved

The end of summer signals the beginning of a new school year and students once again rush to get the best deal on expensive course materials. Portland State University students enjoy the privilege of being part of Oregon’s major metropolitan university, resulting in a host of choices for acquiring the quintessential materials for the new term.

Most students opt to visit the university’s bookstore located at 1715 S.W. Fifth Avenue. Located in the midst of campus, the Portland State Bookstore caters specifically to PSU courses.

Sarah Fritz, a junior in the Speech and Hearing Sciences department, says the store is the ideal place for locating textbooks quickly and efficiently, as they are stocked according to major, course number, and instructor.

“The added convenience of helpful sales associates on the floors to answer queries makes it the top choice,” Fritz said.

The University Bookstore also has a Web site where students can browse and order books online, saving time by avoiding the endlessly long lines the store is famous for during the first week of term.

While the bookstore is the one choice for students looking to accomplish their shopping quickly, there are several students who contend the store’s prices are above those listed at other bookstores and on other Web sites.

John Lynch, a student in Public Administration, finds the prices higher at the bookstore, but feels the efficiency of walking a block, entering the store, and leaving with the right book in hand is well worth the extra dollars.

For the early starters, their choices are not limited to the Portland State Bookstore. Students willing to shop online have virtually unlimited choices at their disposal. Conventional auction sites such as eBay host students from around the country who place their used textbooks for sale. In such circumstances, it is not unusual to find books at least $20 cheaper than those at bookstores and online stores.

Students from around the United States and Canada place announcements on message boards with deals on used textbooks.

While online, students also have the added choice of visiting sites of bookstores such as,,,,, and among the variety of choices at their disposal. further helps students by allowing them to compare prices from dozens of other online bookstores.

Portland State students can utilize these resources to make a smart decision, by researching all of their options before making a final decision that may or may not create a dent in their bank accounts.

Parfait Bassale, an undergraduate engineering major, spends time browsing sites such as and before making a final choice.

“There are incredible deals out there that need a little bit of searching,” Bassale said.

Internet shopping might not be the ideal choice for some students who remain skeptical of online credit card frauds and scams.

Portland State’s downtown location and Tri-Met’s public transportation system make access to the multitude of bookstores that dot the city easily accessible.

Powell’s is a popular choice among students. Portland’s largest independent bookstore is an excellent resource for used, cheap textbooks.

“Powell’s is the place for books at an affordable price,” said Jason Bishop, a student at Portland State. “Its as simple as that.”

Powell’s Bookstore is located at 1005 S.W. Burnside and Powell’s Technical Bookstore is located at 33 N.W. Park Avenue.

Around Portland there are several other stores that provide deals on textbooks. In Other Words, located at 3734 S.E. Hawthorne is known for their choices of women’s books and resources. The Listening Heart, located at 6351 S.W. Capitol Highway is another choice for those elusive cheap books.

With these seemingly limitless choices, students are advised to keep an eye open for the hidden flyers scattered around campus advertising deals from former students of classes.

“Often students want to sell their books independently because they don’t get reimbursed with the amount they want from the bookstore buybacks,” said Jessica Laguana, a Communications major. “These books are usually cheaper than those on store shelves.”